Stop being a People-pleaser In professional life, you will find a lot of people trying to please others. From boss to top management executive to peers and colleagues and even sometime subordinates. In this article, we will go in depth about why people become people-pleaser instead of being just themselves. You already heard about individuals who are people-pleaser and maybe met some or sometimes caught yourself being one yourself. But why we do that? What’s the need to do that extra bit to become a people-pleaser? We will find out here, right now, right away.
We will etch out the whole article in this manner –
First, we will discuss about why people-pleaser is worst case scenario for your professional life; then we go on explaining why people become people-pleaser without realising; and finally we will discuss about ways you can stop being a people-pleaser right away.
Let’s get started then.
Why being a people-pleaser is bad for your professional life?
Being a people-pleaser is not good. Why? Because if you become a people-pleaser, you will lose control over your life! And you will always be dictated by people and circumstances instead of taking charge of them. You will also lose touch with yourself and will emulate people to show that you’re like them.
There are few reasons for which it’s such a bad thing for your professional ground.
You lose ground:
When you’re a people-pleaser, you lose ground of who you are and get busy about knowing what other people are doing. In your heart, you know there’s an empty space and even after making effort to please people, you’re not able to fill that up. And once you lose ground, you lose touch with yourself and thus all that you can be in your career and in your life will get stalled. But the worst part is you will not know that you’re losing your potential.
You seem to compare your professional achievements with your peers and significant others:
Comparison never generates good feeling and no matter who does it, it’s a feeling which is not a happy one. When you are people-pleaser, you’re naturally comparing yourself all your achievements and accomplishments with the achievements of others. And when their achievements are much prodigious than yours, you seem to feel very small and start to please them. And after some time you become a people-pleaser. In professional and personal life, no matter what you achieve, comparing it with others is a poor act. Because, everyone’s path is different and everyone has unique talents and gifts. So comparing with others is like comparing fish’s ability to climb up a tree with a monkey’s ability to swim. Does it ring a bell? You become a people-pleaser because you don’t like what you’ve accomplished and become more overwhelmed by what others have achieved.
You’re not able to say ‘no’ at all:
Saying no is important. As a professional you have limited time per week. And if you say ‘yes’ to everything, your work will even overflow to your weekend and you will not be able to relax and enjoy. And if you’re not able to relax, you will not be able to work properly the following week. People-pleasers take burden to please people and guess the person who is suffering the most? Them.
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You don’t get room to improve yourself:
When you become a people-pleaser, you are not able to get time for your own thing. Naturally, you’re not able to improve your skills, hone your business acumen and polish your abilities. Majority of your time is being spent on pleasing people, buttering them and often oiling them.
You suffer from inferiority complex:
Becoming a people-pleaser is not a one day work. You continuously feel inferior and thus you go on championing other people who are just like you, flesh and blood. And let us remind you that we all are cut from the same cloth. We’re not less brilliant or more intelligent. We all have abilities and capacities we are not yet aware of. But if you concentrate on yourself during those moments when you try to please others by your behaviours and actions, you will realize what lies within. You will realize that you’re always feeling inferior and a continuous criticism is going on inside your head. Thus you suffer from a disease called people-pleasing.
There are many reasons for which becoming a people-pleaser is the worst case scenario; but the above are the chief reasons. Look at them and find out whether there are any similarities in your behaviours or reasons or not. If not, go deep and find out why you do please people.
Why people become people-pleaser without realizing?
There are very few fundamental reasons for which people become people-pleaser without realizing.
It all starts from their childhood. As children we all seek love. But when love becomes conditional then the disease of people-pleasing comes into being. Let’s say Jim is a boy of 4 years. He wants mommy to love him. But mommy says to Jim that if he will do his chores well, then mommy will love him. So Jim goes on and hurries to finish the chores. He comes back and tells his mommy about it and then mommy loves him, hugs him and kisses him. Jim realizes that if I do everything mommy says, mommy will love me; otherwise, I won’t get her love.
Now, this is the beginning of becoming a people-pleaser. You can think how it’s related to professional life? A lot! Imagine Jim. He now has become an executive in a reputed firm. His definition of love has become now approval and respect. Thus whenever he needs approval and respect, he goes to his peers and boss and asks them what he can do for them. He thinks if he does all they say, he will earn respect and approval. Can you connect now? This is the worst type of people-pleasing and it all starts with not getting unconditional love in childhood.
There’s another type of people-pleasing and that’s much subtle. Rima loves her work and she does a very good job. But she has a problem. She can’t say no. Whenever her colleague and boss ask her to do something, she says yes, all the time, every time. Thus, her weekend becomes as occupied as weekdays and she doesn’t get any sleep or rest. Her parents told her to start saying no, but she just can’t. She doesn’t know what fear is stopping her, but there’s something that stops her. She thinks that if she tells no, she will not get the love and approval of her peers and boss as before.
Look at both types of people-pleasers. One is very much obvious and another much subtle. How to get rid of this dangerous social disease? In the next section, we will see how.
Ways to stop being a people pleaser
These are the easy-to-use ways to stop being a people-pleaser.
First, realize that you’re a people-pleaser:
Most people don’t agree that they’re people-pleaser. We all are people-pleaser in varied degrees. But if it’s more than 50% of the cases, you can call yourself a people-pleaser. If people are told that they’re trying to please others, they don’t get it. The reason they don’t get it, because they don’t know at all. The best method to realize that you’re a people-pleaser is to observe yourself closely in professional setting. How you’re talking? How you’re giggling? How you’re feeling because of others’ achievements? How you’re doing your work? What types of work you’re doing? Are all you do your work? Do you delegate work? Do you say yes to every request? If the answer for above questions is yes (to most of them), then you’re a people-pleaser. Realizing that you’re a people-pleaser is the beginning of curing it.
Find out the reason/s why you’re practising this habit:
Yes, it’s a habit. It’s wired in your brain in such a way that you can’t stop doing it. Take some time alone. Sit in solitude with a pen and paper. Think. Ponder. Ruminate about why you please people! What’s your pay off? Do you feel validated? Ask yourself from where this validation is coming from? What if they don’t validate you even if you please people? Where would you find validation then? If you can honestly answer to these questions, then you will be able to search for ways to stop doing it.
Priority beats every bad habit. What if you decide that you only please few people – just your family, not anyone else? What then? First of all it would be difficult. But begin to prioritize your family over your professional colleagues. Whenever you catch yourself trying to please your peers, stop and try to please your child or husband instead. If you practice this you will receive some resistance from your peer group for some time as you’re acting differently. But soon enough you would get rid of it. Once you can focus only on your family, now prioritize yourself. Please yourself. No, it doesn’t mean you will not love your family. But now, it’s a challenge not to please your family. It’s time to please you. If you follow this step by step method, within months you will get rid of this bad habit completely.
Identify your fear:
People please others mainly out of fear – fear of losing loved ones, fear of bad consequences, fear of failure, fear of losing approval of peers and boss, fear of being lesser than others, fear of others’ happiness etc. Find out what fear is making you be a people-pleaser. Usually there will 2-3 if you find out. All other are just the different versions of same fears. Find them out and find the root of those fears. Once you know the roots, it would be much easier for you to face your fear. The best way to do that is to imagine the worst-case-scenario in your mind. Imagine you’re experiencing them right now. What will happen? Nothing. You will still be okay. Maybe a little sad. But you will be fine. The whole world will not crash down upon you.
Stop being so nice:
Rather be firm. Being polite is okay, but being timid isn’t. Whenever you’re ordered or commanded by your boss to do something that shouldn’t be done, stand for yourself and say no. If you feel that it’s impossible to say no right now, start with smaller things than that. Say no to people who don’t matter or who cannot affect your life or profession in a considerable manner. Once you are comfortable in saying no to them, use it with your peers who are at the same position. Once you do that then start saying no to your boss with grace. You don’t need to be rude. But yes, you need to stop pleasing him/her and you need to be firm if you want to grow in your professional life. Most people think that it’s the exact opposite. But imagine making a people-pleaser the CEO of the company? Will the company be sustainable even for few years down the line? You know the answer.
What’s your pay off?
This is the most common question psychologists ask when they notice that people are justifying their resentments and suffering. Everyone has a pay-off for doing something. Find out yours. Why you’re people-pleasure? What need does it serve? Why you keep on doing it? If you can find the pay-off, ask yourself how you can get the pay-off in different manner or via different method where you don’t need to go to people and try to appease them.
These are not the only ways to stop being a people-pleaser. But they’re the corner stones. If you use them, even one, you will begin the process of putting a full-stop at being a people-pleaser. Don’t be people-pleaser; rather be your own person. Live your life in your own way. You don’t need to listen to other people for making things happen. Of course, this world is inter-dependent world. We all need each other. But not in a way that makes you a slave of people. Slavery is not a good characteristic. And being a people-pleaser is nothing but slavery where you sell your head for a price. Do you think it’s worth it?